Sunday, August 22, 2021

Rise and fall of East India Company

 Rise and Fall of East India Company-1

It is the spending capacity of a King or a Company that makes his/its army big or small and accordingly he/it acquires power or empire. 

The story of the rise of British in India starts with Afghan rebels. They were disturbing the kingdom of Persian Emperor Nader Shah, creating insurgence and used to run away to Indian side. 13th Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah Rangila didn’t respond to Nader’s repeated requests to deliver the afghan rebels to him. Rangila became more Indian as he replaced Persian with Urdu as Court language and replaced Turkic Robe with Sherwani. 

After the death of Aurangzeb on March 3, 1707, none of the emperors were as cautious as Akbar and as brave as Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb stayed in south for 27 years to curb Maratha and didn’t return to Delhi. Maratha and others had sacked the power of Mughals after his death. By 1739, the Mughals were weak and many of the provinces had acquired autonomy. Nader knew that the emperor was weak but still extremely wealthy. Therefore, he invaded India and defeated the big army of Sada Rangila (pen name of Muhammad Shah) in a battle of Karnal on February 13, 1739. Rangila handed over the keys of Red Fort to Nader Shah who looted the treasures of Mughal empire amassed in its 200 years of conquest. His returned caravan of riches includes Peacock Throne, Koh-I-Noor, Darya Nur; 700 elephants, 4000 camels and 12000 horses carrying wagons all laden with gold, silver and precious stones, worth an estimated £87.5 million in the currency of the time. An empire from Kabul to Madras with one third contribution in world GDP was sacked when East India Company was operating from the home of its governor with a permanent staff of few clerks. 

It was a meeting of 80 merchants and adventurers at the Founders Hall in London on September 24, 1599, agreed to petition Queen ElizabethI to start up a company. A year later, it received a Royal charter, giving them a monopoly for 15 years over the “trade to the East” with a right “to wage war”. A joint stock British East India Company was founded on December 31, 1600 “by command of the King and Parliament of England” (Auspicio Regis RT Senatus Angliae). 

William Hawkins, the first British man of EEC landed at Surat on August 28, 1608, made his way to Agra, met the emperor Jahangir and returned to England with a wife offered to him by the emperor. Six years later, Jahangir welcomed Sir Thomas Roe, the Royal envoy of King James in 1614. He resided in Agra for three years, developed friendship with the emperor and became his drink partner. He initially failed to convince the emperor to grant trading rights to EEC but when Empress Noorjehan fell ill at Ajmer, the British doctor cured her fever with allopathic medicines, won confidence of the emperor and obtained permission and protection for the EEC factory in Surat. 


22 August 2021


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